Dynamo Dispatch (02/25/19)

Issue 55 | Flexport, Clutter, Zoba

Dynamo Dispatch. Weekly update from Dynamo covering the latest and greatest in supply chain, mobility, and building venture-scale businesses.

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🎙 Check out Dynamo's podcast series, The Future of Supply Chain.

Weekly Commentary 💭

I’m in Los Angeles next week for TPM 2019. If anyone wants to grab a coffee or partake in a casual 20 minute chat about industry, venture, or startups, reach out! I’m at santosh at dynamo dot vc.

If you haven’t already, I highly suggest checking out our re-air of Episode 1 of The Future of Supply Chain podcast. We throw it back to where it all started when we had Alan Amling of UPS break down the intersection of manufacturing and logistics.

We Are Dynamo,
Santosh 💥

Supply Chain 📦

🌟 Inside Amazon’s Technology Test Bed. Amazon counts 25+ robot centers with one by my hometown in Maryland, proving to be a test bed for new types of industrial automation solutions. Industrial automation continues to be a key piece in their strategy for logistics dominance. Related, A Look At Amazon’s Cobots.

Amazon’s Insourcing Roiling Industry. XPO’s massive revenue warning (loss of $600M) is a sign for the broader industry to be cautious of a customer turned-competitor. Several logistics CEO and CFOs have told us as far back as 2016 that they have revenue caps and frequently revisit them to avoid an over reliance on Mr. Bezos.

📊 Accurate Inventory Purchasing A Challenge. Greater competition and the need for improved customer choices are forcing companies to make better merchandising decisions. In a recent survey, 43% of respondents chose "overbuying inventory" as a challenge within their company, and 36% said the same for underbuying.

Understanding Trucking Freight Futures. FreightWaves is on a roadshow education stakeholders about it’s upcoming futures product. Some great insights on liquidity and volatility in this new class of financial instrument.

What is “Safe Enough” For Drone Deliveries?. While delivery drones will be heavier than the current hobby aircraft we’re familiar with, safe operating procedures, payloads, and features still lack.

Amazon Targeting Half of Deliveries to Be Carbon Neutral by 2030. It turns out that industry leaders might not wait for regulation to implement sustainable transportation practices.

Maersk Expects Rocky 2019. Maersk noted on-going stress from US-China and US-Europe trade tensions and fuel prices.

Mobility 🚗

🌟 Vehicle Customization and the Auto Supply Chain of the Future. “Customization is a significant market trend and believes the entire supply chain will require transformation as the customization of vehicles becomes a mainstream approach to production.”

🎥60 Minutes on China’s Goal to Dominate EVs. China plans to build 1M EVs this year accounting for half of total supply. It’s hard to not compare their goals and execution goals to the most ubiquitous computing platform, phones.

VW Building First Battery Recycling Plant. As VW charts it’s path to EVs and sustainability emerges as a major trend across supply chain and mobility, a new battery recycling plant will harvest raw materials from old battery to make new ones.

🎧 Capitalizing on An Autonomous Vehicle Future. A state of autonomy from a16z on any self-driving vehicle (cars, shuttles, et al).

Volvo Believes Infrastructure is Biggest Roadblock for Electric Trucks. Charging/refueling infrastructure might be the missing piece in getting electric (or broadly renewable energy) trucks on the road. We’ve shared pieces on battery technology previously where the pace of advancement still lacks relative to market needs.

EU to Cut Truck Emissions By 2030. In a new provisional agreement, the first time the EU has set any CO2 standards for trucks, CO2 emissions must be 30% lower in 2030 than current emissions standards.

Strategic Developments, Fundraises, M&A 💸

🌟 Flexport Raises $1B from Softbank at $3.2B Valuation.  The new funding is expected to be used to fund product development and aggressively drive go-to-market efforts. It looks like Flexport revenues (I’m assuming gross) were doubling from $225M in 2017 to $471M in 2018 -- partly explaining the rich valuation. The question is what margins are like and whether they showing signs of [better than industry-average] expansion. While the news causes industry watchers to question the sanity of VCs, there’s no denying that Flexport could render competitor tech investments moot while also subsidizing aggressive pricing.

Softbank Leads $200M Round in Clutter. Clutter is an on-demand, technology-enabled storage startup and is now valued at $600M.

Mojio Raises $40M for Connected Car Data Platform. Mojio aggregates and distills insights from connected car data including vehicle diagnostics, usage, and more. The round was led by Kensington Capital with participation from several strategics including Amazon Alexa Fund, T-Mobile, Bosch, Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners, Assurant, and Telus.

Zoba Raises $3M Seed. Zoba’s software helps mobility companies better forecast demand (in an effort to help unit economics). CRV led the round with participation from Founder Collective.

DoorDash Closes $400M Round. The food delivery startup raised a Series F led by Temasek and Dragoneer Investment Group.

Pointivo Raises Series A. The drone analytics startup raised a $7M Series A led by BIP Capital.

Lalamove Raises $300M to Scale On-Demand Logistics. The Asia-centric startup provides first and last mile services in Asia. The round was led by Hillhouse Capital and Sequoia China.

ParkHub Raise $13M. ParkHub provides parking solutions for lot operators. The round was led by Arrowroot Capital.

BMW/Daimler Detail Mobility JV. The previously announced plans will be executed across five JVs: FreeNow (ride-hailing); ChargeNow (EV charging network); ParkNow (parking services); ShareNow (free-floating services); ReachNow (multi-modal trip planning).

Lyft IPO Targeted for Late March. It means that we will all have a S1 to read as early as today with a roadshow slated for mid March ahead of a pricing.

Company Building 🛠️

Build a UX Lab Anywhere. While I’m best thought of as being a former banker, I have spent a lot of time doing user interviews, prototype testing, and UX research. As a company builds a process around product, a simple yet effective UX lab can be very helpful.

Tweetstorms on Marketplaces. Pawel Chudzinski of Point Nine on liquidity, metrics, and software-enabled networks. Li Jin of a16z on demand vs supply.

Implementing OKRs At A Startup.  I have spent the last month trying to gather the best resources for OKR implementation for founders in our portfolio. This is a solid first-hand experience in implementing OKRs -- more tactical and practical advice is needed in the industry.

Who’s On Your Board?. Next time you have a question as to what board composition looks like as you raise, reference this. I will note that pre-seed investors may/may not take board seats and most great ones will look to transition off by Series A. At Dynamo, we look to transition by Series B when we’re on boards.

Who's Hiring? 👩‍💻

Data Engineer at SKUPOS in San Francisco, CA.
Office and HR Manager  at Zeelo in London, England.
Chief of Staff at PlusOne Robotics in San Antonio, TX.

Check out other jobs at Dynamo portfolio companies.

❤️ We would love your support. Please forward to friends or share on Twitter or LinkedIn.
🗞️ If you were forwarded this and found it interesting or helpful, please sign up.
🎙 Check out Dynamo's podcast series, The Future of Supply Chain.